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Old August 9, 2018, 16:59   #16
the Invisible Stalker
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Late to the party, but here are some thoughts:

What is the purpose of races? I can think of several, current or potential, and each one suggests a different approach, so it would be good to be clear on what we want to accomplish. Here's a list of the ones I can think of:

- Flavour, for people for whom this is a role-playing game or who just like flavour. There's no real need for it to have any game play effects at all, just like sex. It's important though that the options fit the theme of the game. I tend to ignore flavour, but I understand how important it is for other people.

- Difficulty levels, for people who like challenges, or like to avoid them. From this point of view it doesn't much matter what the races are called, as long as some are better than others. Maiar seem to be intended mostly as an easy difficulty level, for example, and largely succeed at that. This approach would treat race balancing measures, like experience penalties, as a bug rather than a feature.

- Variety, especially for people who have already figured out how to win. Here it's mostly a matter of the more races/classes, and the more they differ, the better.

- Class specialisation. This is probably the main use of races at the moment, but I don't see the point of this from a design point of view. If everyone who plays a class is going to play it as a particular race then you can fold the race bonuses into the class ones and save everyone a keystroke when rolling a new character.

- Actual racism. See Steamband. Not something which appeals to me, but I guess there's a market for that sort of thing.

- Strategic choices. I'm excluding those choices involved already in the choice of class, since I've talked about those under class specialisation. So I'm not talking about different races being better at melee/ranged/spells/sneaking/etc, because those choice primarily determine class and then race is an afterthought. But there are other strategic choices to be made when creating a character. There can be, for example, a trade-off between early game, mid-game and end game. One of the things I liked in playing artifactless thralls in FA was trying to get the early game/end game balance right in the choice of race and class. Without very good stealth the early game is not survivable, but the combinations with the best stealth simply can't get enough hitpoints to survive the final fight without artifacts.

I'm not arguing for any of these points of view, and am only arguing against one of them. I'm just trying to list them. I've probably forgotten some too.
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